Nordic countries to discuss SLMM's future role
[TamilNet, Friday, 23 June 2006, 11:15 GMT]
Embassy of Norway in Colombo, in a press release issued today said that according to LTTE, "European Union ban on the LTTE has seriously disturbed the neutrality of these countries," and LTTE has "repeated its demand that SLMM monitors from EU countries (Denmark, Finland, and Sweden) be replaced." The release added that this demand is "deeply regrettable and will weaken the SLMM in a critical period," and that Norway has invited the other Nordic countries to a meeting in Oslo on 29 June to discuss the safety and future role and function of the SLMM."
Full text of the press release follows:
Replacement of SLMM monitors from EU countries
Due to grave concern about the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka, on 8 June the Norwegian Government deemed it necessary to take the unprecedented step of requesting the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to respond to the following five questions:
- Will the parties stand committed to the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) of 22 February 2002?
- Do the parties want the continued existence and operation of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission as a mission coordinated, facilitated and led by the Royal Norwegian Government with diplomatic immunity to ensure its impartial operation?
- Are the parties able to provide full security guarantees for all monitors, employees and physical assets of the SLMM in all situations, in accordance with CFA Article 3.9?
- Will the parties accept amendments to CFA Article 3.5 in order to enable the continued functioning of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission at its current operational levels and with the necessary security guarantees?
- In the event that amendments to Article 3.5 are made, will the parties provide full security guarantees for current SLMM personnel and assets during a six-month transition phase until an amended solution has been identified, decided and fully implemented?
The Norwegian Government has received answers to the questions from the two parties. The Government of Sri Lanka has responded affirmatively to all five questions.
The LTTE has responded positively to questions 1, 3 and 4. As regards question 2 and 5, the LTTE has repeated its demand that SLMM monitors from EU countries (Denmark, Finland, and Sweden) be replaced. According to the LTTE, the “European Union ban on the LTTE has seriously disturbed” the neutrality of these countries, and they will therefore have to be replaced.
In the letter to the parties, Norway asked for a six-month transition phase until an amended solution has been implemented. The LTTE has stated that it wants a shorter transition phase.
“The LTTE’s demand that SLMM monitors from EU countries be replaced is deeply regrettable and will weaken the SLMM in a critical period,” says Norwegian Minister of International Development Erik Solheim.
The Norwegian Government has invited the other Nordic countries to a meeting in Oslo on 29 June to discuss the safety and future role and function of the SLMM.